Can OVI & Aggravated Vehicular Assault Be Sentenced Separately?

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underage drinking and drivingToday, the Ohio Supreme Court stated that when a defendant is convicted of aggravated vehicular assault and operating a vehicle under the influence, a trial court may hand down separate sentences for both charges. This applies when the defendant is convicted of OVI and this action is the underlying conduct that causes the aggravated vehicular assault.

According to Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, writing for the court, OVI and aggravated vehicular assault are not allied crimes. This means that anyone who is convicted would face separate sentencing. This decision helps to resolve an issue within the state’s appellate courts, as well as affirmed the Eighth District Court of Appeals’ judgment in a case involving a woman who pled guilty after a 2013 car accident.

The plea of guilty was for charges of aggravated vehicular assault, OVI, and child endangerment. The sentences imposed by the trial court were as follows: three years for child endangerment, three years of aggravated vehicular assault, and six months for OVI; sentences to run concurrently.

The defendant appealed to the Eighth District, stating that the OVI and aggravated vehicular assault sentences should be combined. The appeals court agreed with the trial court regarding the sentencing.

Justice Lanzinger stated that R.C. 2941.25 governs regarding when defendants can be convicted of multiple offenses and how a separate statute, R.C. 2929.41, informs of when sentences must be served consecutively or concurrently. According to division (B)(3) of the law, sentencing for an OVI conviction must be served consecutively with an aggravated vehicular assault sentencing. The court stated that this division is not an exception to the allied-offense statute; rather, they work together.

The court decided that whenever an aggravated vehicular assault occurs and an OVI offense is the causing factor, the trial court may decide to sentence consecutively or concurrently for the two convictions.

If you have been arrested for OVI and aggravated vehicular assault, you must act fast. Contact our Columbus OVI and criminal defense attorneys at The Koffel Law Firm today. We have the experience, skill, and passion to represent clients in some of the most complex criminal cases. Learn how we may be able to help you.